US & Canada

Lost finger turns up in Idaho lake fish

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Media captionPia Harold reports: "He didn't feel much pain at first, but then he saw the damage"

A US man who lost four fingers in an accident on a lake and joked that they were "fish food" has found that is exactly what happened to one of them.

The little finger turned up three months later inside a trout.

Two anglers discovered the digit inside the fish's digestive tract while examining their catch on the shores of Priest Lake, Idaho.

Police then fingerprinted it and traced the owner, Hans Galassi, 31, who says he does not want it back.

He lost the fingers from his left hand in June in an accident while wakeboarding - a sport that involves being pulled along the water on a board.

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Media captionSergeant Gary Johnson tells Hans Galassi he will keep the finger

Mr Galassi, an experienced wakeboarder, found that his hand became trapped in the rope that was to pull him along.

As it tightened, his fingers were severed.

"I pulled my hand out of the water and it had pretty much lopped off all four fingers," he told local paper The Spokesman-Review.

He says he did not expect to find his fingers, or have them reattached.

Call from police

Earlier this month, Nolan Calvin and Mark Blackstone were enjoying a fishing trip on the same lake, when they made the grim discovery.

They caught the trout eight miles from where Mr Galassi had his accident.

They called the police, who put the digit on ice.

Investigators then researched case files and reports, trying to establish where it came from.

Then they fingerprinted it and sent it to their forensic team, who confirmed that it belonged to Mr Galassi.

Mr Galassi says he was not initially surprised when he got the call from the police department.

"I had joked with friends previously that my fingers were fish food now and so it just played in line with what I was expecting," he said.

He has been through intensive rehabilitation and has now regained some functionality in his hand.

But he does not want to see his finger again. "I don't need it back - it's worthless to me", he said.

Police say they will hold on to the finger for a couple of weeks in case Mr Galassi changes his mind.

"If he doesn't, the Idaho state police lab have expressed an interest in using it as a training aid. But it's not something that we're going to be able to keep for too long," Sergeant Gary Johnson from the Bonner county sheriff's department said.